The Butterfly Bush - A Favorite Nectar Source for Butterflies

Are you into a garden full of color and getting magical visits from one of the most divine insects in the world? Then this is the plant for you!

By: THURSD. | 01-03-2023 | 7 min read
Garden Plants
The butterfly attracting plant header

The butterfly bush, also known as the 'butterfly plant' is a well-known, colorful plant that attracts the sight and desire of butterflies that want to feed themselves on the juiciest nectar. Besides having very fragrant flowers, the butterfly bush is an amazing plant option to have in your garden if you want to fill it up with the visit of butterflies every day with the addition of a striking light purple-pinkish color.

Characteristics Of the Butterfly Bush (Buddleia Davidii)

Butterflies are the main type of insects that are heavily attracted to a plant that hence, has been named after them. Buddleia Davidii is grown for its long and spectacular panicles of vibrant blooms. Even when the bushes are not in flower, they are still appealing due to their spring and summer blooms and their naturally pleasing shape and evergreen leaves. In colder regions, it grows more like a perennial, dying back to the root crown each winter and reappearing in spring.


The Butterfly Bush - A Favorite Nectar Source for Butterflies
Buddleia Davidii. Photo: Unsplash


Butterfly bushes are available to suit many different gardening preferences. Some butterfly plants can grow up to 12 feet tall, while others are relatively small. If you're a gardener that loves enhancing outdoor spaces by filling them up with appealing plants, the butterfly bush is a great option. Now comes one of the most important components — how do you care for and grow a butterfly plant?

How to Appropriately Care for a Butterfly Plant?

It is not surprising that these plants are so popular given their aesthetic appeal, ease of maintenance, and ease of growth. These resilient bushes are relatively unaffected by even powerful storms. They flourish in challenging conditions, such as polluted metropolitan areas. They can withstand stress, drought, and insect pests. The butterfly bush thrives in full sun, ordinary soil with medium rainfall, and well-drained soil. If you decide to plant more than one, give them a good distance — five to six feet so they can fully thrive and survive.



The butterfly bush needs full sun (at least six hours every day) and will become weedy and sparse if cultivated in shaded situations. This plant prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil but will grow in any normal, well-drained soil that receives an average amount of precipitation.


Butterfly bush also known as butterfly plant
Butterfly bushes attract hundreds of butterflies as they feed on their nectar.
Photo: Better Homes and Gardens

This lovely plant prefers a medium-moisture environment and does not tolerate either extreme swampy or drought-prone environments. They only need half an inch of water per week from irrigation or rain to grow. Last but not least, to finish taking care of your butterfly plant appropriately, this plant needs no fertilizer other than a thin layer of compost spread over the root zone each spring. There you have it, easy care handles for an easy-maintenance plant!

Five of the Most Beautiful Butterfly Bushes

If you're not sure where to start with butterfly bushes, these five options can become the first ones to adore your garden:

1. Nanho Purple Butterfly Bush

One of the most popular and beautiful butterfly bushes is commonly referred to as 'summer lilacs' and Nanho Purple's blooms make it clear why. These wands of deep purple flowers have lilac-like appearances and scents. Compact Nanho Purple grows three to five feet tall and around that broad. So it won't take over, you can use it in your garden or yard. The best part is that it doesn't have seeds and isn't invasive, so it won't take over the neighborhood but will still draw butterflies.


Nanho Purple Butterfly Bush
'Nanho Purple Butterfly Bush'.
Photo: Buddleja Collection


2. Prince Charming Butterfly Bush

The butterfly bush 'Prince Charming' is the one for you if you desire vibrant blossoms. Hummingbirds and butterflies adore its 10-inch-long spikes of scorching ruby-pink blossoms. Its diminutive stature allows it to fit into smaller gardens where a larger buddleia would be overwhelming because those large, vivid flowers are produced on a compact shrub that grows to a height of four by four.


Prince Charming Butterfly Bush
'Prince Charming Butterfly Bush'.
Photo: Stuart's Landscaping


3. Queen of Hearts Butterfly Bush

The small-growing 'Queen of Hearts' variety only reaches heights of three to four feet. It grows into a broad, rounded mound that is somewhat wider than it is tall, and throughout the summer, it is covered in 9-inch-long wands of brilliant magenta flowers. A great idea to brighten up your yard and draw in fliers is to plant a butterfly bush.


Queen of Hearts Butterfly Bush
'Queen of Hearts Butterfly Bush'.
Photo: White Oak Gardens


4. Pugster Pink Butterfly Bush

This variation is for you if a monstrous butterfly bush isn't your cup of garden tea. Pugster is a dwarf type that only reaches heights of two feet and a width of three feet, but it produces full-sized flowers. Something like big blossoms on a little shrub. How can you not adore it? It can therefore be placed in a container in the center of a border. You won't even need to deadhead it to receive flowers all season because it blooms continuously.


Pugster Pink Butterfly Bush
'Pugster Pink Butterfly Bush'.
Photo: Garden Crossings


5. Flutterby Pink Butterfly Bush

This modest shrub won't overpower a tiny garden because it only grows to a height of two feet and a width of about two feet as well. From June till the first frost, it consistently produces pink blossoms. It's non-invasive because it doesn't often reseed. We don't want the butterfly bushes in your garden to become overly hungry, as much as we adore them.


Flutterby Pink Butterfly Bush
'Flutterby Pink Butterfly Bush'.
Photo: Buddleja Collection

How to Grow a Butterfly Bush Plant

Because the butterfly bush self-seeds so easily, 'how to do it' seems to be a little obvious. The stray seedlings that appear around a parent plant can be easily transplanted. Moreover, dried flower heads can be used to collect seeds, which can then be stored and planted in the correct area the following spring. Yet it's more likely that you'll use store-bought seeds for one of the sterile varieties that are currently offered. In that situation, direct sowing the seeds in the chosen place will produce sprouting and full-grown plants by the end of the first growing season.

Pruning Butterfly Bushes

The butterfly bush's flower spikes should be removed as soon as possible after flowering to encourage sustained blooming up until the first frost and lessen the likelihood of self-seeding. This plant grows quickly, and each spring trimming it all the way to the ground encourages vigorous growth and abundant blooms. Even in warmer climates where the plant develops as an evergreen shrub, this is frequently a smart idea.

Pests and Diseases

Buddleia is seldom bothered by pests or disease, although mullein moths, caterpillars, and spider mites can attack them, and the plants are occasionally plagued by fungal infections. If you see insects, try knocking them off with a strong blast of water from the hose, or spray the bushes with insecticidal soap. But try to avoid using pesticides, as they also kill visiting butterflies, bees, and other beneficial garden creatures.


Pests and diseases of butterfly bushes
Photo: Unsplash


To control fungus problems, which can flourish on wet leaves, water bushes early in the day, and use a soaker hose or drip irrigation when possible. Remove diseased plant parts and discard them — but not in your compost pile, where diseases can spread.

Tips for Making Butterfly Bush Bloom

A butterfly bush will bloom profusely from the beginning of summer through the end of the season in generally favorable growing conditions (plenty of light, moist but well-draining soil). Take in mind that the plant will not fully bloom if one of these situations occurs:


Light purple butterfly bush
A blooming and colorful butterfly bush.
Photo: Gardening Know How


If you want an easy-maintenance plant and want to attract the loveliest visits of butterflies, you better start thinking about planting butterfly bushes in your garden!



Can't get enough?

Subscribe to the
newsletter, and get
bedazzled with awesome
flower & plant updates